Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Neurol., 20 June 2012 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2012.00098

Evaluating medical student communication/professionalism skills from a patient’s perspective

Larry E. Davis1,2*, Molly K. King1,2, Sharon J. Wayne3 and Summers G. Kalishman3
  • 1 Neurology Service, New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Albuquerque, NM, USA
  • 2 Department of Neurology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, USA
  • 3 Office of Program Evaluation, Education, and Research, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Objective: Evaluate medical students’ communication and professionalism skills from the perspective of the ambulatory patient and later compare these skills in their first year of residency. Methods: Students in third year neurology clerkship clinics see patients alone followed by a revisit with an attending neurologist. The patient is then asked to complete a voluntary, anonymous, Likert scale questionnaire rating the student on friendliness, listening to the patient, respecting the patient, using understandable language, and grooming. For students who had completed 1 year of residency these professionalism ratings were compared with those from their residency director. Results: Seven hundred forty-two questionnaires for 165 clerkship students from 2007 to 2009 were analyzed. Eighty-three percent of forms were returned with an average of 5 per student. In 64% of questionnaires, patients rated students very good in all five categories; in 35% patients selected either very good or good ratings; and <1% rated any student fair. No students were rated poor or very poor. Sixty-two percent of patients wrote complimentary comments about the students. From the Class of 2008, 52% of students received “better than their peers” professionalism ratings from their PGY1 residency directors and only one student was rated “below their peers.” Conclusion: This questionnaire allowed patient perceptions of their students’ communication/professionalism skills to be evaluated in a systematic manner. Residency director ratings of professionalism of the same students at the end of their first year of residency confirms continued professional behavior.

Keywords: professional conduct, medical ethics, medical education

Citation: Davis LE, King MK, Wayne SJ and Kalishman SG (2012) Evaluating medical student communication/professionalism skills from a patient’s perspective. Front. Neur. 3:98. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2012.00098

Received: 12 May 2012; Accepted: 30 May 2012;
Published online: 20 June 2012.

Edited by:

Patty McNally, Loyola University Chicago, USA

Reviewed by:

Stephen Scelsa, Beth Israel Medical Center, USA
Kevin N. Sheth, University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA

Copyright: © 2012 Davis, King, Wayne and Kalishman. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Larry E. Davis, Neurology Service, New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System, 1501 San Pedro Dr. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108, USA. e-mail: ledavis@unm.edu